Since 1929 the Academy Awards have recognized actors, actresses, producers and many more for their outstanding achievements in the movie production industry. However, in the past two years there have been controversial discussions surrounding the Academy Award nominees.
The controversy was over the lack of racial diversity of the nominees. According to the official website of the Oscars, there is a plan to double the diversity in the academy by giving each new member’s voting status a total of 10 years and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade.
Members will also receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.
Taking a step back on the issue I think we are asking the wrong questions. The questions we should be asking ourselves are why do we care? Why do we care about which actors, actresses or movies made the top list?
The whole idea of the Academy Awards is unnecessary. There are no television programs that dedicate a whole televised event to the best Costco employee. It is one thing to recognize a person for their workmanship but it is another to give them an award for doing their job. Ultimately that is all these nominees do, their job.
In the article “Do the Oscars Really Matter? The Politics of the Academy Awards,” Jonathon Saia said how the title of winning an Oscar is important and creates more job opportunities for anyone nominated.
The only issue is that he said the reasons why it matters to those involved, not why it is important to the average joe at home who is watching the awards at home.
Diversity is something that we as Americans pride ourselves on and there should never be an issue of diversity in any type of organization. I believe there are arguments that support both sides of the racial controversy surrounding the awards.
Juanita Hall, Senior Director of the Multicultural and International Programs and Assistant to the President for Diversity at California Lutheran University said, “when it’s historical roles or stereotypical roles that that’s what a person or color looks like or what they should be doing, there is a problem with that.”
However, society has been so wrapped up in the tradition of the Academy Awards that more important issues are being beaten out as headlines and we are talking about who was and who wasn’t nominated instead of real world issues such as the poisonous water that is being used as drinking water in Michigan.
Will our lives be torn apart if they do not have an Academy Awards? Even if they still have an Academy Awards but do not air it, will society be able to function? I hope so, because if not that says a lot about the type of society we live in if we are idolizing these movie stars and directors more than those who may actually deserve the praise.
Whether there is a lack of racial diversity in the Academy Awards or not, it still does not change the fact that the Academy Awards do not need or deserve the amount of media attention that it has been getting for years. Watching the Academy Awards does not make us better people, nor do we benefit from any of it.
Published February 3rd, 2016